Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report 01/14/15
I have talked to and heard from very few anglers that have fished in the park during
the last few days. I've have talked to and corresponded via email with several
planning trips to the Smokies in the coming months. If I can shake this kidney stone
problem I'm still having to deal with, I will be making a few trips to the park to fish while
I still have a chance to do so. Things have slowed down some at Perfect Fly. It is
mostly confined to a a few tailwaters, southwestern streams and steelhead in
January. I love fishing in the winter, and as long as the guides are not freezing up
too much, I can usually catch several trout.
I have found that the fish use the
same holes in the bottom of the streams that are out of the current year
after year.

For example, I usually make the first stop at the bridge on Little Pigeon right at the
park's main welcome center. We have caught trout out of the pool just below the
bridge in cold weather for the last several years and sometimes, when there was ice
along the banks of the water. By the way, they are wild trout, not stockers. From
there, I usually move over the hill to Little River and fish from about the turn to
Elkmont downstream a mile or two. Again, there are only a few places you will find
trout that you will be able to fish. Often, the places they are holding is on the bottom
in holes below too much current to have to deal with and often, in areas where high
sticking won't work.  

It is a slow presentation process getting the fly into just the right place and being able
to keep it slowly moving in the slow current where the trout are holding. Unless you
start upstream with lots of slack line, the fly will usually be dragged by faster current
on the surface. High sticking solves that problem but you have to be able to get close
to the fish without spooking them. If you can get a very small fly, such as
the BWO nymphs I am recommending below, it the right place, moving at the right
speed (slow), you can expect a trout almost every time.

There are only a few places in any given section of water where the trout can hold
out of the current. The trout will position themselves in the same spots year after
year, and contrary to what many think, they will eat as long as the water isn't frozen.
The level of metabolism has nothing to do with that at all. It only slows their
movements and reduces the amount of food they need to survive. They will still eat.
In cold water, the high thirties or low forties, they will not hold anywhere there is much
current. If they did, they would expend more energy than they could acquire food to
replace. Once you get the process down, the only thing that slows the catching down
is the difficult presentation required and the time it takes to do it.

More old photos:













































Smoky Mountain Weather:
Today, there's a chance of rain before 10am, then a chance for drizzle before
ending. It will be mostly cloudy with a high near 42. Calm wind will change to come
from the northwest around 5 mph in the afternoon. The chance of precipitation is
30%. Tonight's low will be around 28.

Thursday, there's aA 20 percent chance of showers after 10am. It will be mostly
cloudy with a high near 44.

Smoky Mountain Stream Conditions:
The streams with links that have nearby USGS Station Real-time stream data: Click
to links to see updates:
Little River: Rate ?????..26 ft.(The system is still not working)
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)

Oconaluftee River: Rate 476 cfs at 1.85 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)

Cataloochee Creek: Rate 102 cfs at 2.57 ft (This gauge is also messed up due to
ice)
(good wading conditions up to 125 with extra caution up to 150 cfs)

Little Pigeon River doesn't have a station nearby. It was about normal yesterday
afternoon.

Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Fontana Lake. My guess
is they are about normal but I have no reports.

Current Recommended Streams: Any of the lower elevation streams with trout

Recommended Trout Flies:
1. Blue-winged Olives:
Hook Size 20/18
nymphs
emergers
duns
spinners

2. Brown and White Belly Sculpins:
Hook Size 6

3. Cream Midges: 20/22
larva
pupa
adults

4. Winter Stoneflies: 16/18
nymphs
adults

Recommended Fishing Strategy:
Keep in mind, the strategies I am recommending is for the maximum odds
of catching numbers of fish.
Many prefer or favor a dry fly and by all means there
isn't anything wrong with that. It's just a fact that if nothing is hatching at the time, it
reduces your odds of success. You can still probably hook some trout, just not as
many as if you fish subsurface. Of course, this is also based on using good
techniques and the right flies. Some guys don't know how to fish below the surface.
Strategy:
Until I spotted something hatching, assuming I was fishing a low to mid elevation
stream, I would fish a size 18 Blue-winged Olive nymph. Many of the species of
mayflies called Blue-winged Olives are bi-brooded, meaning they hatch twice a year.
They are swimming nymphs that dart around in short spurts and hide wherever they
can. They don't stay wedged up under the rocks like most of the other mayfly
nymphs, the majority of which are clingers. Winter stoneflies should begin crawling
out of the water to hatch within the next few days.

If the water is below 43 degrees, I would switch to a Cream Midge larva and Cream
Midge Pupa tandem rig, with the larva the bottom fly and the pupa above it.

If you spot something hatching, it will most likely be Cream Midges or small
Blue-winged Olives. Switch to the adult Cream Midge, if it is midges hatching, or the
BWO Dun or emerger, if  it is the BWOs.

Tips for Beginners:
None

Tips for the Self Proclaimed Experts:
None

Whatever Hits Me:
Thank you for visiting our site. James Marsh, Pending CFO
(Chief Fishing Officer) Perfect Fly
Copyright 2015 James Marsh
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I caught the two marlin onboard this 35 Bertram in a 1990 Gulf Coast Marlin tournament
in one day. I'm keeping the fish wet while we are running from the Desota Canyon to the
weight-in at Ft. Walton Beach. The smaller marlin is an Atlantic White Marlin. It may
appear small but they rarely get over a hundred pounds.
It won first place White
Marlin
in the two day tournament. I don't remember the number of boats but I think there
were about 50 or 60 in the tournament. I do remember the calcuta was a few hundred
thousand dollars, but I didn't do the betting, just some of the catching. It also takes a
good mate to gaff the fish and a good captain to handle the boat during the fight.
Catching a marlin is never a one man operation. The bottom fish is an Atlantic Blue
Marlin and weighted 337 pounds. It won third place blue marilin. I gave the trophies to
the boat owner, Ron Thompson's, young son. I fished marlin and other billfish
tournaments for several years all over simi-tropical and tropical waters of the western
hemisphere.